Monday, December 16, 2013

the gift of simplicity…


Here we are. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle and list making and crowded stores and long lines and this is where I say to myself each year….

Whew. Come on Leslie, take a deep breath. And don’t do it. Don’t lose touch with what it’s all about.

You know. The reason for the Season.

But it’s really hard, isn’t it? We have to make a conscious effort to not get swept up in all the frenzied buying and great sales and the urgent pace of it all. And whoa, those expectations!

So when I read this interesting detail about happiness I thought I’d share it with you because I know you’re trying to slow down and stay grounded in the meaning of Christmas too.

I know… more research on happiness? Do we really need to be reminded of what we already know deep down?

Well I know I do, so here it is.

According to a study on happiness and wealth, spending our money on life experiences rather than on material possessions is what ultimately makes us happy. In other words, purchases that result in being with others and experiencing a social connection is what we should be focused on.

It’s the gift of simplicity.

And the gift of simplicity is one that focuses on The Experience. The gift of our time. The act of being together and creating a special memory. Which means that instead of buying another expensive, silver knick-knack for that someone who has everything, try buying movie or theater tickets for you to take them along. Buy a gift certificate at a cozy coffee shop that includes a trip to a bookstore with you. Or maybe a golf lesson for Grandpa and your son to experience together.

Are you getting the idea?

Instead of buying a ‘thing,’ try spending your money on doing something fun together with your person in mind….

Because in the end here’s the truth. Material possessions no matter how luxurious and desirable they are, depreciate over time. They lose their value as the days go by and the heady excitement of getting it, is soon replaced by wanting the next ‘special’ thing.

But our experiences are just the opposite. As we go through life our past experiences actually become larger in our minds. They transform into precious memories and unlike material possessions, our memories become more valuable to us as we grow older.

Have you noticed this?

Have you observed how an old memory becomes more meaningful to you over time? And how those once simple experiences are now filled with poignant details that leave you smiling years later?

Do you recognize the soft, tender feelings you experience when you reflect back to a special moment in your life, which usually involves another person?

When a feeling of warm, reminiscent love washes over you?

Well that’s It.

In the end

those are the ultimate gifts that matter.

And they have very little to do with a great sale price.






today I’m wishing you the gift of simplicity,


…of slowing down


…and cherishing the small moments

with the people in your life.





             If you liked this topic, you can read more about the myths of true happiness here.





I’m linking this post up with these friends:




Art and Sand said...

The reason we took family vacations for so many years was because the memories are there from every ski trip or Hawaiian Christmas. But, none of us can remember what actual gifts we unwrapped. We are not on a vacation this year because KC doesn't have the vacation time and also because I am no longer tied to Christmas vacation for skiing.

I asked KC to pick some pretty "real" pieces of jewelry this year for me to choose from. I don't want to buy a whole bunch of presents that will be given to Goodwill in a few years. I want to give her something that will always make her think of the first Christmas she moved back to Ventura.

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

believe it or not, I am definitely not caught up in the craziness of buying presents and all of that. I really enjoy this time of the year. I love the lights and the simplicity of Christmas. I like the idea of buying something meaninful for a person to do it together...that said, for some people my only option is a gift card to their favorite store. I really tried for years to make it meaningful, but a couple of years back I gave up. I love this post

Blondie's Journal said...

I love this post, Leslie. I really take these articles to heart because they are based on research and facts. I won't go into detail but we have come up with some ideas over the years to bring about togetherness as opposed to wrapping up an object. It has always been well worth it and we try to do those things as much as possible.

Thank you for some of the great ideas! Happy Holidays!


Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

As always Leslie, perfectly said!

michele said...

thanks, leslie. i gladly accept this gift and so appreciate the reminders to be intentional about seeking happiness.

joy to you.


Sarah said...

Leslie, you always share sage advice. It's the process not the product that is important just as the experience is what brings happiness. It's just the two of us, no children, so our Christmases have always been simple. We do Christmas stockings for each other rather than gifts under the tree. Love the idea of giving friends tickets to attend an event together.
Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Unknown said...

LOVED this post Leslie, perfectly put....I too have written a "thoughts about Christmas" post today....yours is wonderful & I've linked to it on my blog today Xx

Jeanette@Creating a Life Studio said...

As we are getting ready to drive to So Cal to be with family this Christmas (for the first time in about 20 years!) this really struck a chord with me. My mom and I laughed on the phone tonight about how we won't have gifts for each other, but the real gift is going to be all of us together. Other than a crazy long drive with a van full of kids, this really will be a simple and beautiful Christmas.
Thanks for this post, Leslie, and Merry Christmas to you!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

What a beautiful post! Leslie, you've got it right! My best Christmas gift is spending time with family!
What a good reminder!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

This post is just what we all need to read before all the holiday madness sets in, Leslie. Even at work, our potluck (which was our gift to each other) has become a dreaded gift exchange. Bliss (Ranch) suggested that I buy a bag of groceries to donate to the food shelf instead, and next year that's what I'm doing! I hope others will follow suit, too. The "big" people in my family no longer exchange presents. Our "presence" is our gift to each other. In these busy times, a day spent with my entire family is the greatest gift of all.

Thanks for this wise and humbling post and Merry Christmas to you and your family, Leslie!

Gypsy Heart said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I've been more simplistic this year than ever before I think...and it feels good. Remembering the reason for the season is important! I'm also focusing on doing things to honor Abby.

Have a wonderful week!

Anonymous said...

Amen! Beautifully said. Thanks for the reminder.

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

I am so happy to read this post right now Leslie. I have been thinking about this lately and this year my gifts to my partner are centered around "time together" opportunities.

I am loving the idea and I have spent a great deal of the last year thinking about all the "stuff" in my life and the role it plays. You are so right that the memories we share and build are everlasting where the materials we purchase are short-lived.

I love the link as well. It speaks to myths that we often perpetuate without thinking. I remember my father telling me that I had one decision to make every morning when I got out of bed. I could decide to be happy and make this day count...or not. It really kind of bugged me as a kid but it sure stuck with me as I entered my adult years.
Interesting post as always Leslie!! Gentle reminders of who we can be.

Kathy Olson said...

I loved this! I also loved the snowing scene you posted? Do you mind if I ask how you found that? It's so lovely!

Leslie said...

Wonderful Leslie .. Simplicity, and not forgetting the Reason for the Season. The parking lot experience I had that was mentioned in my blog post was definately an example of loosing touch. I like the idea of giving an experience rather than material baubles. Well said and wonderful message.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is such a beautiful post, Leslie...and so much my feelings, too. This year I have made a point of getting together with friends and spending time with family. I didn't put a bunch of unrealistic expectations on myself, and it has been one of the most stress-free Christmases I have had. I am trying hard to put that way of thinking into all of my life. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with those you love!

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

Thank you Leslie and I hope we are all able to stop awhile, thinking deeply about those who cannot even stop to think because they are threatened or traumatised or unsafe. I have already had my xmas gift and what a gift it was! My reading in London went well and my favourite author - the guy I was reading in the plane! - walked in the door.. It was heaven, the stuff of heaven. Xcat

Lori said...

You are so wise and so smart. I am not stressed out here at home ~ it is the crazy pace at work right now but I have no control over that. I have been trying to get enough sleep and not get sick. So with that in mind I should get my butt to bed ~ love all your posts Leslie ~ such a great visit each and every time. xo

Unknown said...

I love this post, Leslie...your sentiment is so true and beautifully written...I cherish the small moments more and more...a little wisdom of age, I think.
I wish you the gift of simplicity too...have a wonderful christmas. xx

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Unknown said...

Good morning Leslie-This is such an important reminder. With all the frenzy of gift buying, wrapping, spending it's easy to lose sight of what really matters. I love the idea of a shared experience. That's always the thing we remember most.
Wishing you a sparkling New Year my dear!
xx, Heather

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